Marijuana Business Magazine - May-June 2018

industry’s act together, which means blowing the whistle on bad actors. Legalization, in other words, has turned plenty of former rebels and outlaws into narcs, in a strange twist of fate. Realistically, though, that’s the price the industry will have to pay if it wants full legitimacy. What those licensed marijuana establishment companies now have is peace of mind. They can call the police if they get robbed, and law enforce- ment must show up and treat them just as professionally as they would, say, a convenience store that was held up. Licensed MJ companies, in short, have legal recourse through the judicial system. And they have allies in state government that will likely help defend them against potential inter- ference from cannabis haters like U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. What that means for the near term, however, is unclear. It’s highly unlikely the state or its 482 municipalities and 58 counties will be able to effectively stamp out the black market. I don’t see why new approaches will make a significant difference in a fight that law enforcement has been losing for decades. The bureau, for its part, has yet to fully outline its plans for com- batting the ongoing black market – aside from sending cease-and-desist letters. The only real course forward for licensed California companies is an obvious one: Play hardball. Compete like hell. Devour the com- petition. Forgive the alliteration, but many California businesses that will survive 2018 will have to become capi- talistic cannabis cannibals. That means tipping off regulators – or the cops – to unlicensed companies that are selling or advertising with- out having gone through the proper channels. Any businesses, especially retailers, that don’t play hardball are probably at immediate risk of serious financial loss at the least – and, at the worst, failure. Welcome to the establishment. ◆ John Schroyer is senior reporter at Mari- juana Business Daily. He can be reached at [email protected]